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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Increase the 218 character filename length limit to open files in excel

Excel can't open files with full path lengths greater than 218 characters as documented in This is still a problem in Office 2016. It seems crazy that Excel can't open a valid file that the filesystem allows. People have been complaining about this since Office 2000. The thread below has over 11 thousand views and there are plenty others. Please fix this.

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  • ALH commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Does anyone know if Google docs's spreadsheets have same limitation ? ;)

  • Neil Widdowson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Any update on when this is going to be fixed? I have an ever increasing number of phone calles about employees finding this a problem.

  • shawn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please. For everyone else's sake. We have already moved to google sheets because of this reason and this reason only. It was a pain in the butt, but such a relief now that we can actually work in shared and synced environments.


  • sherlock261 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I wanted to add my voice to this. I download survey results for a client who needs the files to be named a certain way. For the first time, I discovered that Excel has a naming issue. I could download the file, open it once, save and close it. But I could never open it again afterwards. What a great drama I have gone through!!

    I discovered one solution for now that gets me through the project. Use an external drive - in my case - an SD card - and save Excel workbooks there. It's annoying but is workable. At least I can get to the data. A copy is also saved in the project folder too but I work off the SD card.

    Really, in this day and age, this should not be happening. What is curious is the word docs with the same naming convention my client wants, open up just fine. Why is Excel a problem? Is it because it does calculations, unlike all other programs?

    Also, I use the 365 subscription version. How different is that to a regular version of MS Office Pro?

  • E R commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Unreal that this is STILL an issue even though someone from Microsoft replied saying it was going to be fixed. How difficult can this fix be? When is it rolling out? Is it part of an insider preview yet?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I experience the same problem when having long folder structures in sharepoint. It seems like the restriction of 218 character limit also includes the filepath in sharepoint. Please fix that, would be helpful.

  • Matt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    At least fix this so you can open files posted on SharePoint. It even enforces the 218 limit if the file is in a cloud directory structure. surely from SharePoint when I "Open in Excel" a fix could be implemented, the file structure is just virtual at that point. And the messy error message is unclear to the users and is very difficult to explain.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Re:"why is this not a problem with Office 365 for Mac???" It IS a problem for the Mac. A BIG problem. I have to move folders to the desktop so that I can open the files in Excel

  • Roy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The upside here is that hope cannot possibly be futile in this case.

    Consider how MS wants the computing world to move forward. Things like Sharepoint are essential to it as are things like moving people to the "cloud" in its full glory: app server farms as much as storage farms. Either side of that is going to require much more complicated paths.

    Forcing everyone to use shortened naming and substitute pathways is mostly a non-starter for a litany of reasons. Result? Not just what the IRS likes to phrase as "I'm feel like I'm, feeling some pushback here when you claimed you were being cooperative" and not even outright refusal to do so but rather a simple ignoring of their desires no matter what and the folks buying things regarding a variety of products as "broken": as "not career enhancing"... and so simply no one purchasing their efforts. A flat "we're not even saying 'no', we're just buying something that works" result.

    So not only can and does Windows support a 32767 character path for anything with a path so they already have an incredible upgrade in ability available for no cost or effort at all, but also, they must do it or wither on the vine they are choosing to force us to.

    The only difficulty then is rewriting the portion of Excel that limits, on its own, how much path length a function can address. It seems functions can address slightly less than 256 characters and some of that has to be left for the file name and cell or range of cells being addressed. 31 characters seems to be the assumption, though reading the explanation they give for that made it seem like it should really be a few more... it adds to more than 31 (just the sheet tab name alone can be that long, exactly that long, so it suggests that's the real reason for the 31 and the cell or range isn't in the sum at all)... with the rest being available for the actual path name to the file. (Add a full cell range to the 31 and the 218, and one exceeds the 256 max possible: maybe there is something in that for why certain things mysteriously fail. Hmm...)

    In any case, from THEIR OWN viewpoint, this is an utter, ABSOLUTE MUST. So it is very likely they mean it when they say they intend to include it in upcoming work.

    (Of course... if, in 3½ years the ADMIN comment is 3½ years old and still no changes... feel free to question my mother's species... Bill Gates must have loved the movie Brazil.)

  • Joseph RAVIER commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This issue was already bothering when I had to save my file in local folders. But now I work on a SharePoint Synchronised Folder, it's a real pain in the ***. Most of the characters are used by the address of the SharePoint "Shared documents" folder ant it left only a hundred characters for the sub folders organisation and the file name before the 218 char limitation. I have to save my file in a local folder and then move the file in the synchronised folder to avoid this crazy limitation. Can you address this issue once and for all, please ? At least make it homogeneous with the windows file system limitation.

  • Anon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    When will this be included in a release. What is the date.

  • Mark Freeman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    ditto...just landed here in vain...can't open my Excel file down too many folders...but no problem copying the file there!! This is a real issue...suggest changing logic so that path and file name lengths count least for a start...or just don't count the path characters (only the file name itself).

  • Darren commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Still having problems with this in Office 365, would have thought this was fixed!!!!

  • connor commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please fix this! Extremely frustrating and counterproductive. No reason this should still be a thing.

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